Written by NRMN Master Facilitators (Drs. Philip Cheng, Melissa McDaniels, Christine Pfund and Amber Smith)
In the spring of 2016, NRMN offered two sections of Research Mentor Training online, which served not only to stimulate discourse around effective research mentor training, but also built a community of researchers across NIH BUILD institutions. This unique online course gathered twenty-one participants (across time zones!), where they interacted live in an online environment.
Participants and instructors met weekly for two hours and communicated via audio and video conferencing in a virtual synchronous classroom. This online environment included a host of functions that promoted rich interactions including an interactive electronic whiteboard, built-in chat functions that harnessed the power of parallel processing, and even break-out rooms that enabled smaller group discussions. This led to lively dialogue around mentoring topics such as aligning expectations, maintaining effective communication, fostering independence, assessing understanding, cultivating ethical behavior, and engaging in culturally aware and equitable mentoring practices. Over the course of six weeks, participants also wrote mentoring philosophy statements, drafted mentoring compacts for use with their mentees, and discussed the components of a doable research project for an undergraduate researcher.
Participants included faculty, graduate students and postdocs from 12 NIH BUILD and BUILD partner institutions. Institutions that were represented include: University of Alaska (Anchorage and Fairbanks), University of Detroit Mercy, East Los Angeles College, University of Hawaii, Morgan State University, San Francisco State University, Santa Monica College, University of Texas El Paso, Xavier University of Louisiana and Wayne State University.
NRMN will again be offering sections of online research mentor training in Spring of 2017. Stay tuned for information about this opportunity in Fall 2016!